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தல வரலாறு பிருங்கி முனிவர் வண்டு உருவம் தாங்கி,ஈசனை மட்டும் வலம் வந்து போற்றிய நெறிகண்டு, கேதார விரதம் அனுட்டித்து, உமையம்மை இடப்பகம் பெற்ற திருத்தலம். சுந்தரரும், சம்பந்தரும் இத் தலத்தைக் காளத்தியிலிருந்து தரிசித்தனர். சிறப்புக்கள் இமய மலையின் பனி சூழ்ந்த சிகரங்களுக்கு மத்தியில் எழிலோடு காட்சியளிக்கின்றது. ஆறு மாதங்கள் தேவர்களாலும், ஆறு மாதங்கள் மனிதர்களாலும் வழிபடப்படுகிறது. இன்றும் கேதார விரதம் ஐப்பசி மாத அமாவாசை நாளில் அனுட்டிக்கப்படுகிறது. கேதார்நாத் யாத்திரை இன்றும் புனிதமாகக் கருதப்படுகிறது.

Lord Shiva manifested in the form of Jyotirlingam or the cosmic light. Kedarnath is highest among the 12 Jyotirlingas. This ancient and magnificient temple is located in the Rudra Himalaya range. This temple, over a thousand years old is built of massive stone slabs over a large rectangular platform. Ascending through the large gray steps leading to the holy sanctums we find inscriptions in Pali on the steps. The present temple was built by Adi Shankaracharya.The inner walls of the temple sanctum are adorned with figures of various deities and scenes from mythology. The origin of the revered temple can be found in the great epic - Mahabharata. According to legends, the Pandavas sought the blessings of lord Shiva to atone their sin after the battle of Mahabharata. Lord Shiva eluded them repeatedly and while fleeing took refuge at Kedarnath in the form of a bull. On being followed, he dived into ground leaving behind his hump on the surface. Outside the temple door a large statue of the Nandi Bull stands as guard. A conical rock formation inside the temple is worshipped as Lord Shiva in his Sadashiva form. The temple, believed to be very ancient, has been continually renovated over the centuries. It is situated at an altitude of 3,581 mt. It is a 14 km trek from Gaurikund.

At the approach of winters in the month of November, the holy statue of Lord Shiva, is carried down from Kedarnath to Ukhimath, and is reinstated at Kedarnath, in the first week of May. It is at this time, that the doors of the temple are thrown open to pilgrims, who flock from all parts of India, for a holy pilgrimage. The shrine closes on the first day of Kartik (Oct-Nov) and reopens in Vaishakh (Apr-May) every year. During its closure the shrine is submerged in snow and worship is performed at Ukhimath.

Location Kedarnath is amongst the holiest pilgrimages for the devout Hindu. It is set amidst the stunning mountainscape of the Garhwal Himalayas at the head of the Mandakini River. Kedar is another name of lord Shiva, the protector and the destroyer. Shiva is considered the embodiment of all passions - love, hatred, fear, death and mysticism which are expressed through his various forms.

The shrine of Kedarnath is very scenically placed, and is surrounded by lofty, snow - covered mountains, and during summer grassy meadows covering the valleys. Immediately behind the temple, is the high Keadardome peak, which can be sighted from great distances. The sight of the temple and the peak with its perpetual snows is simply enthralling.

The Mythological Past There are more than 200 shrines dedicated to Lord Shiva in Chamoli district itself, the most important one is Kedarnath. According to legend, the Pandavas after having won over the Kauravas in the Kurukshetra war, felt guilty of having killed their own Kith and Kin and sought the blessings of Lord Shiva for redemption. He eluded them repeatedly and while fleeing took refuge at Kedarnath in the form of a bull.

On being followed he dived into the ground, leaving his hump on the surface. The remaining portions of Lord Shiva appeared at four other places and are worshipped there as his manifestations.

The arms appeared at Tungnath, the face at Rudranath, the belly at Madmaheshwar and his locks (hair) with head at Kalpeshwar. Kedarnath and the four above mentioned shrines are treated as Panch Kedar.

An imposing sight, standing in the middle of a wide plateau surrounded by lofty snow covered peaks. The present temple, built in 8th century A.D. by Adi Shankaracharya, stands adjacent to the site of an earlier temple built by the Pandavas. The inner walls of the assembly hall are decorated with figures of various deities and scenes from mythology. Outside the temple door a large statue of the Nandi Bull stands as guard.

Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the exquisitely architectured Kedarnath temple is considered to be more than 1000 years old. Built of extremely large, heavy and evenly cut grey slabs of stones, it evokes wonder as to how these heavy slabs had been handled in the earlier days. The temple has a Garbha Griha for worship and a Mandap, apt for assemblies of pilgrims and visitors. A conical rock formation inside the temple is worshipped as Lord Shiva in his Sadashiva form.

Best Time to visit:- The ideal time or peak season to go for a Char Dham Yatra is from May to October, except monsoons. This is because; all the four sacred sites are perched in Garhwal Himalayas, which is prone to heavy snowfall. As a result, all the passage leading to the shrines are blocked. Moreover, during the monsoon season, there is undue threat of having landslides, which can further disrupt the journey. For safety reasons, the gates of the temples are also closed for this period of time and the idols are shifted to nearby pilgrim points.

Kedarnath Kedarnath is a small town in de midhills of the Himalaya mountains in the state of Uttarakhand in north-western India. It is a Hindu holy town and is one of the Himalaya Char Dham yatra. Kedarnath is located at about 3584 mtrs. above sea level and lies near to the head of river Mandakini. It is flanked by many breathtaking peaks. If you arrive in the early or late season, you will most likely find your path in the morning and evening to be frozen and slippery. Then the the temple and houses are all under a pack of snow and the people around packed with many layers of clothes and all chiffering, sipping tea at the teashop next to the temple. Sadhus camp on the streets while trying to stay warm by burning locally found woods.

Kedarnath hosts one of the holiest Hindu temples and is a ever more popular destination for Hindu pilgrims and tourists from all over the world. In a scenic spot at the origin of the river Mandakini, the shrine of Kedarnath is most venerated amongst the Hindu pilgrims.

Kedarnath is accessible by a 13 km trek through a hilly paved path (horses or palanquins are available for rent) from Gaurikund. Gaurikund is a one day's travel by road from Rishikesh, Haridwar, Dehradun and other important hill stations in the Garhwal and Kumaon regions of Uttarakhand.

Demographics At the 2001 India census, Kedarnath had a population of 479.

As the legend goes, in the Mahabharata, while on their Himalaya pilgrimage, the Pandavas decided to pay homage to Lord Shiva. But Lord Shiva was not interested in meeting them as they were guilty of gotra hatya(killing their brethren). Seeing the Pandavas coming, the Lord disguised himself as a bull. But the Pandavas saw through Shiva's disguise. Realizing that his disguise had not worked the bull tried to plunge himself beneath the ground. But Bhima was swift and held on the hind legs of the bull, thus preventing it from vanishing. In the struggle that ensued different parts of Lord Shiva's body appeared at various places in Kedarkhand. The forehead showed up at Pashupatinath in Kathmandu, the hump of the bull at Kedarnath, the torso including the navel at Madhmaheshwar, the arms at Tungnath, the face at Rudranath, and the matted hair at Kalpeshwar. The Indian Panch Kedar trek includes all the five shrines associated with the Kedar legend. All of them are situated in the Kedar Valley.

Kedarnath Kedarnath is a small town in de midhills of the Himalaya mountains in the state of Uttarakhand in north-western India. It is a Hindu holy town and is one of the Himalaya Char Dham yatra. Kedarnath is located at about 3584 mtrs. above sea level and lies near to the head of river Mandakini. It is flanked by many breathtaking peaks. If you arrive in the early or late season, you will most likely find your path in the morning and evening to be frozen and slippery. Then the the temple and houses are all under a pack of snow and the people around packed with many layers of clothes and all chiffering, sipping tea at the teashop next to the temple. Sadhus camp on the streets while trying to stay warm by burning locally found woods.

Kedarnath hosts one of the holiest Hindu temples and is a ever more popular destination for Hindu pilgrims and tourists from all over the world. In a scenic spot at the origin of the river Mandakini, the shrine of Kedarnath is most venerated amongst the Hindu pilgrims.

Kedarnath is accessible by a 13 km trek through a hilly paved path (horses or palanquins are available for rent) from Gaurikund. Gaurikund is a one day's travel by road from Rishikesh, Haridwar, Dehradun and other important hill stations in the Garhwal and Kumaon regions of Uttarakhand.

Demographics At the 2001 India census, Kedarnath had a population of 479. As the legend goes, in the Mahabharata, while on their Himalaya pilgrimage, the Pandavas decided to pay homage to Lord Shiva. But Lord Shiva was not interested in meeting them as they were guilty of gotra hatya(killing their brethren). Seeing the Pandavas coming, the Lord disguised himself as a bull. But the Pandavas saw through Shiva's disguise. Realizing that his disguise had not worked the bull tried to plunge himself beneath the ground. But Bhima was swift and held on the hind legs of the bull, thus preventing it from vanishing. In the struggle that ensued different parts of Lord Shiva's body appeared at various places in Kedarkhand. The forehead showed up at Pashupatinath in Kathmandu, the hump of the bull at Kedarnath, the torso including the navel at Madhmaheshwar, the arms at Tungnath, the face at Rudranath, and the matted hair at Kalpeshwar. The Indian Panch Kedar trek includes all the five shrines associated with the Kedar legend. All of them are situated in the Kedar Valley.

Haridwar Rishikesh Yamunotri Gangotri Kedarnath Badrinath: Gateway to the Gods

Kedar is another name of Lord Shiva, and the name for the stone rounded by years long travel in Ganga (Ganges River). In all there are over 200 shrines dedicated to Lord Shiva in the Chamoli district itself, the most important surely being Kedarnath. Kedarnath is also one of the twelve Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva.

There are a few small places en route from Gaurikund to Kedarnath, like Janglechatti, Rambara and Garurchatti, where you can rest a while or spend the night if the travel becomes too tiring, or if you wish to take it a bit slower and enjoy the magnificent surroundings. Just one kilometer before Rambara there is a high and beautiful cascading waterfall which crashes down the heights.

As one approaches from Garurchatti, the Kedarnath temple is visible on advancing some 500 meters. With the background of towering white mountains mantled with snow, the temple presents an enchanting sight. All around it is an aura of peace and purity. Here, the unholy are said to become holy and the holy, holier still.

The temple is magnificent in its style and architecture. It is built on a morainic ridge jutting out at right angles from the snowy range. The present temple, built in the 8th century by Adi Shankaracharya, stands adjacent to the site of an earlier temple built by the Pandavas. The inner walls of the assembly hall are decorated with figures of various deities and scenes from the Indian mythology. Outside the temple door a large statue of Nandi Bull stands as guard. Built of extremely large, heavy and evenly cut grey slabs of stones, it evokes wonder as to how these heavy slabs had been handled in the earlier days. The temple has a Garbha Griha for worship and a Mandap, apt for assemblies of pilgrims and visitors. A conical rock formation inside the temple is worshipped as Lord Shiva in his Sadashiva form.

The place remains closed from November to April due to heavy weather while the temple is submerged under thick packs of snow. Besides its affiliation with Shiva, Kedarnath is also believed to be the site of Shankaracharya's samadhi. No specific family of pujaris supervises the various rituals at Kedarnath.

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